Written by Mike Foley
Don’t miss Herb Berg’s (HBK Engineering) upcoming presentation in the Friends of Downtown’s Brown Bag Series.
Thursday, August 6th
Chicago Cultural Center
Many Chicagoans are unaware of the labyrinth network of freight tunnels beneath the city. There are over 47 miles under the central business district alone. The tunnels rose to prominence in 1992 when one such tunnel was pierced during construction and 124 million gallons of water from the Chicago River poured through the network and into the basements of many downtown buildings, knocking out electric power and natural gas service.
It was this incident that was largely responsible for the formulation of the “Board of Underground,” or as it is known today, the “Office of Underground Coordination,” a section of the Department of Transportation, specifically designed to ensure close scrutiny of proposed substructure construction. Since then, Chicago Building Permits, with sub-structure construction, have not been issued prior to OUC ruling out any sub-structure conflicts, through close coordination with utility companies and other entities with sub-structure considerations.